The Amazing Cargo Ship

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Donald J Boudreaux

“When I introduce my (mostly) freshmen students to the economics of international trade, I steal an idea that I learned from David Friedman and Steve Landsburg. I start by showing my students a picture of Thomas Edison. I then ask them to imagine a modern-day version of this inventor who creates a machine that turns corn into cars. … After noting the unanimous agreement of the class about the goodness of such a machine, and noting also that this agreement makes perfect sense, I then announce that I’m about to show them a picture of an actual machine that turns corn into cars. I announce that such a machine has already been invented and is commonly used, and I express faux surprise that they’ve never heard of it.” (03/14/23)